Wednesday, August 29, 2012

An Evening with the Warwick's Booksellers: 2012 Edition

On Tuesday, August 28th, we hosted our annual Evening with the Warwick's Booksellers - a fantastic event featuring four of our booksellers talking about some of the new books they are passionate about. Here's the full list of the books discussed - bookseller comments are in quotes & you can click on any of the titles to see the synopses on warwicks.com:

Heather Christman, Marketing and Co-op Coordinator:
Some Kind of Fairy Tale by Graham Joyce: "Twenty years ago 15-year-old Tara Martin disappeared with little trace, until one Christmas morning when she appears out of the blue looking as though she were still a teenager, and claiming she was lured away by “the fairies”. Narrated by a mysterious and unknown figure with deep insight and untold answers, Some Kind of Fairy Tale is a spellbinding story that weaves itself between Tara’s unbelievable account, her family and friend’s attempts to cope and understand, and her therapist’s blunt analysis of her supposed delusion. Readers are kept on edge as they try to answer the question “Where has Tara been?” while navigating through a selection of eerie circumstances and secondary characters that enthrall with their blurred edges of reality and unusual perception. A mind-bending psychological narrative filled with mystery and beautifully written prose." 

Shine Shine Shine by Lydia Netzer: "The Mann’s are an amazing couple-Maxon a Nobel Prize-winning scientist, is on his way to the moon, and Sunny is a heavily pregnant, seemingly perfect housewife who spends her days caring for her autistic son and maintaining her role of flawlessness within her social circle. When a freak accident exposes Sunny for what she really is--a bald, social mimic, with a penchant for exaggeration--she must decide whether to continue her efforts of conformity or embrace the differences that make her Sunny. Interspersed with the couple’s odd upbringings and courtship, Shine Shine Shine is a wonderfully funny, touching, and unique love story that charms readers with its quirks and intelligence."

Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter: "Beautiful Ruins is told via a multiple third-person narrative that bounces not only between characters, but also through time, place, and narrative style. From 1962 Italy and the filming of Cleopatra, to current Hollywood, Walter’s unique style creates not only a touching story of a love that could have been, but also a deftly drawn portrait of the demise of the movie star as an untouchable god (pre extreme-paparazzi), and the transition from epic films to glamorless reality television. The novel adroitly shows the inner workings of film publicists and producers looking to exploit everything and anything to sell their products, the turmoil created by the desire to be famous, post-traumatic stress, and the general narcissism and technological dependence of the current generation. On the Hollywood front, actor Richard Burton takes a co-starring role—his actions literally spur the plot of the entire story—his drunken escapades, remarkable talent, and on-set affair with co-star Elizabeth Taylor are imaginatively recreated. The addition of an ill actress, an alcoholic former solider/writer, a canny and amoral publicity grunt, and a young Italian trying to save his dying hotel, help to create a setting that is almost film-like itself in its capture of drama. Walters also effectively uses secondary modern characters to bring together the threads of the story as it bounces between decades and characters. In all, Beautiful Ruins is intriguing, very stylized in its presentation, and a wonderful look at Hollywood’s transition from its Golden Age."

Where We Belong by Emily Giffin: "While I have typically tried to stay away from this genre of books--chick-lit, something about the premise of Where We Belong caught my interest. It wasn’t that the concept of an adopted daughter searching for her birth parents was new, it’s obviously not, but more how the story is told. Alternating between the voices of 18-year-old Kirby, and 36-year-old Marian, Where We Belong offers readers a glimpse into the minds of two very different people searching for their places in this world. This is a well-told narrative, interesting in its play out, with two characters who come across as quite real, and little more complex than your average “fluffy” book. This is instead a good novel that leaves you with the yearning to revisit these characters in a few years to see how they are doing. In all this was surprising pleasure, with no guilt attached."

Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn (Revisited--and the Flynn trifecta): With the success of Gone Girl it is apropos to revisit Gillian Flynn’s previous book, Dark Places and most importantly, her debut novel Sharp Objects. This novel is brilliant, shocking, and unforgettable. If you have read or have any interest in Gone Girl, you must delve into Sharp Objects. To give readers a better idea of my initial impression here is my original 2006 recommendation:

Flynn’s debut novel is chilling and often disturbing, but it contains the best use of words that I have seen in quite some time. Despite the moments I found myself cringing with discomfort, I found I was so amazed by the beauty of Gillian Flynn’s words that I could not stop reading. Sharp Objects is a book that will stay with you long after you’ve put it down. Fantastic!"

Jim Stewart, bookseller:
The American Bible by Stephen Prothero: "Stephen Prothero has brought together over 40 major documents and writings that have impacted US history. Choice commentary provides background and historical context about everything from the Star Spangled Banner and Pledge of Allegiance to speeches by Martin Luther King, Jr. and John F. Kennedy."

The Chaperone by Laura Moriarty:  "This historic fiction places the reader in the midst of 1920’s New York . Famous silent film star Louise Brooks makes her first foray into New York, accompanied by a woman with her own agenda."

The Hypnotist’s Love Story by Liane Moriarty:  "Hypnotherapist Ellen O’Farrell falls in love with Patrick, who has a former girlfriend, that has been following him everywhere since they broke up several years before."

Gold by Chris Cleave: "Timely for the recent Olympics, Cleave tells the story of Zoe and Kate, who first met during the 2004 games. They are track racers with a rocky friendship and readers will wonder why they are still friends, which is explained later with a surprise twist."

The Absent One by Jussi Adler-Olsen:  "Danish police detective Carl Morck is so disliked that they give him an office in the basement where he and his Syrian assistant, Assad, are tasked with trying to solve all the cold cases in Copenhagen".

Camilla Johnston, bookseller:
Sutton by J.R. Moehringer:   "We are so excited to be hosting J.R. Moehringer on October 17th, for his new novel Sutton. Departing from his usual memoir or biography, Moehringer writes about a fictional interview of infamous bank robber Willie Sutton upon his release from prison. Moehringer manages to make Sutton entirely likeable, despite topping the FBI’s most wanted list. Truly an interesting read." (To be released on 9/25/12)

Monkey Mind by Daniel Smith: "Neuroses are plaguing everyday life for author Daniel Smith as he writes this biography. Smith explains the way that neuroses can be both developed as well as inherited. Portions of the book are painful to read, as life seems so unmanageable for Smith. It is a quick read, but an unforgettable one."

The Black Count by Tom Reiss: "The same author as The Orientalist, this book follows the life of Alexander Dumas. Half-Haitin slave, Dumas managed to make his way to France and rise in the ranks of the military, despite his skin color. Similar to his previous book, Reiss illustrates the change that one person can make in themselves and their lives if given the opportunity and choice." (To be released on 9/18/12)

Death in the City of Light by David King: "If you enjoyed Devil in the White City, you will surely enjoy Death in the City of Light. This book is truly a stranger than fiction period of history, as a French doctor became a serial killer during the Nazi Occupation. Using the police dossiers and local newspapers, King shows the terror that was being created by one man, in a truly terrifying time. King also wrote Vienna 1814 and Finding Atlantis."

Mrs. Robinson’s Disgrace by Kate Summerscale: "A true life Madame Bovary, this private diary from the Victorian Era is an eye opening account of women’s rights during the time. At this point divorce was new concept, and only two had been granted by Parliament previous to Mrs. Robinson. Since divorce is so common today, one forgets that it was not long ago, that it could only be act of Parliament."

A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway: "While Hemingway is likely rolling in his grave due to this release, this is a great book! 47 alternate endings, and early drafts are included, as well as the final version of A Farewell to Arms. This is perfect gift book for any fan of American literature! Purists may shun the idea, but it is very interesting to see the stream of consciousness in Hemingway’s mind that led to the final product."

John Hughes, Book Buyer/bookseller:
The Candidate: What It Takes to Win — And Hold — The White House by Samuel L. Popkin

The Dog Stars by Peter Heller

Double Cross: The True Story of the D-Day Spies by Ben Macintyre

The Lost Prince and The Little Book by Selden Edwards

The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving by Jonathan Evison

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